LAHORE - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan has said the government has paid full attention to the issue of stuck sales tax refunds, as the government has cleared about Rs. 40 billion sales tax refunds to the industry in the first four months of the current year, reflecting its commitment to facilitate the business community.

He was talking to All Pakistan Textile Mills Association members here on Saturday. He listened to their issues and problems and assured them the fullest government support for their resolution. Senior members of FBR were also present on the occasion.

Haroon Akhtar Khan said FBR focus has shifted from burdening the existing taxpayers to finding new taxpayers, and all our energies are now concentrated on finding new taxpayers through an extensive taxpayer outreach programme which has helped us get a significant number of additional taxpayers. He said the government deeply valued the taxpayers and the contribution they had made to the revenue generation. He said that FBR has been able to register 73 per cent revenue growth during the last four years. He said FBR has decided to go after the non-filers and three zones had been created in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad with a view to broadening the tax base.

Chairman APTMA Amir Fayyaz, Patron-in-Chief APTMA Gohar Ejaz, Chairman APTMA Punjab Ali Pervaiz and other office bearers of the Association received him on the occasion. Both the sides discussed in detail the issues pertaining to sales tax refunds on deferred, current and rolled back Refund Payment Orders (RPOs). Also, the issues relating to the imports of raw materials by the basic textile industry were also taken up during the meeting.

The APTMA management appreciated Special Assistant to Prime Minister and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officers of field formation for prioritizing clearance of pending refunds of the industry and let it come out of the adverse situation due to the liquidity crunch being confronted with at present. The management pointed out that release of sales tax refunds will help restoration of viability of the textile industry ahead.

The APTMA management also appreciated Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for directing the Federal Commerce and Textile Minister to formulate a long term textile policy to ensure viability and growth to meet target of doubling exports in next five years. The APTMA leadership reiterated that only the availability of internationally competitive energy, improvement of industrial liquidity through prompt payment of duty drawbacks and sales tax refunds and putting in place the safeguards for the domestic textile industry against the entry of dumped, subsidized and undeclared yarns and fabrics from across the border.

APTMA management hoped that the interaction between the two sides would boost industrial growth that would also be contributing to the revenue generation goal of the government.

Chairman APTMA Punjab Ali Pervaiz urged the visiting FBR authorities to evaluate the performance of their filed staff on gross revenue collection otherwise they would keep holding refunds back to achieve revenue target.